Learning and Living

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:1-3)

Children relish the thrill of piling up leaves and then hurling themselves airborne into the mountain of colorful crunchy foliage.

It’s time to rake leaves.

But (pause) with the thought of a backache and blisters – I’ll do it later. Wait, what’s this? A blower gathering dust in the garage! That changes everything – assuming I can get it running.

Imagine if I brag to my neighbor that I have a powerful leaf blower capable of accomplishing the arduous task of leaf consolidation in a fraction of the time with minimal effort compared to the twisting drudgery of dragging the rake. The neighbor, however, never sees the blower – only a yard with layers and drifts of decaying leaves that annoy him with every gust of wind. You can just hear it – “So where’s that blower you keep talking about?”

It’s one thing to say that you have a blower; it’s an entirely different story if you actually pick it up, learn it, and put it to practical use. This is how John approaches the spiritual things that we talk about. In order for there to be any vitality to our faith there must be a marriage of learning and living.

In the prologue to his first letter, the apostle begins right off the launching pad with this force: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you” – that’s learning; “…that you may have fellowship with us… the Father and His Son Jesus Christ” – that’s living what we’ve learned.

Having fellowship is not an ethereal state of being; it is the experience of interpersonal investments that yield comfort, joy and growth – the fruit of the Spirit, the mind of Christ, and much fruit that glorifies the Father. We can learn and talk about fellowship all day long, but just talking will change exactly nothing.

Get a blower in your hands – pile up those leave and bring joy.